Seals at Berneray


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Published: October 13th 2006
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Seal ColonySeal ColonySeal Colony

I counted around 5 seals at this colony right next to the shoreline.
The next day my travels took me to Lochmaddy. Its a ferry port and small town. I stayed three nights at the Uist Outdoor Center. Some days the midges are a real problem, especially on the Uists because they are big oasis of stagnant water. On calm days the midges go around in swarms and attack your head, getting in your ears and up your nose. One day they were so bad millions of them infested the windows and doors of the hostel. Luckily they seem to prefer to loiter in packs of thousands trying to get outside the building rather than inside and a light breeze is enough to drive them away so its not usually a big problem. I went out fishing the local lochs and caught 4 small brown trouts - let dinner be served. They were a bit small and delicate but I grilled them served with some veg and they were fab.

Next I visited Berneray for 3 or 4 nights. Its a lovely little island with a few hundred people, a coffee shop, a supermarket the size of a bedroom, amazing white sandy beaches and a mobile fish and chip shop that comes twice
Hostel at BernerayHostel at BernerayHostel at Berneray

This one is the most popular Gatliff Trust hostel and its easy to see why.
a week. There's also a lovely quaint little harbour where you can get a sail boat to take you up the coast and ferries also leave here for Lewis, the next major island north. The Gatliff Trust Hostel here is lovely and I met quite a few other travellers here. I met a lovely pair of old ladies who were totally up for enjoying themselves and had more energy than I could muster myself. A threesome of young lads who went swimming in the freezing cold sea (no thanks) and lit a fire on the beach one night. And amongst many other kind people, a group of artists doing a university course using the hostel as a base for doing classes and a random coach load of ramblers happened by. With the hostel almost full some nights it all made a very remote place seem really quite fun and lively. The tide is especially high and low during a few weeks in September and this made for some picturesque transformations in the coast line and scallop pickings from the shore not to mention the usual abundance of bird life and families of seals floating about here and there. This was
Sound of PabbaySound of PabbaySound of Pabbay

What a shame its so cloudy, it doesn't do this beach justice. Even then this beach was impressive and I can't imagine how wonderful it would have been like in the sunshine.
definitely my favourite place I've visited so far.

The Outer Hebrides were ultimately where I wanted to visit during this trip to Scotland and I absolutely loved the places I saw and people I met. I spent much of it in the southern halve of the Western Isles but now time was running out. I was meeting some friends from Kinloss near Inverness and it was time to leave the Isles behind.


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Rent a GrandmaRent a Grandma
Rent a Grandma

Fancy a midnight hike or a sail boat ride up the coast? These lovely women were full of the joy of life.
Sunset over the HarbourSunset over the Harbour
Sunset over the Harbour

This sunset disappears over the islands to the south.
Good old SpikeGood old Spike
Good old Spike

Spike belongs to the women running the hostel and it loves to show off and chase away the rats living in the rocks. Don't worry I only saw one rat and I'm sure spike dealt with it!
Inside the HostelInside the Hostel
Inside the Hostel

This is the most busy I've seen one of these hostels. It is good to have company on such a remote island.
Tide out at BernerayTide out at Berneray
Tide out at Berneray

When the tide is in it licks up against my feet - stopping only at the rocks to the very bottom of this picture.
Tide in at BernerayTide in at Berneray
Tide in at Berneray

Same view but with the tide in. Its an amazing transformation. You can just make out the two poles from the other picture. It comes in so fast you can sit there and watch the rock pools fill up.


25th September 2007

this just gets better!
Brilliant - super photos too. That's my mind made up - a trip to the Outer Hebrides is definitely on after reading your stuff.

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